Our roughly six-month hike on the Appalachian Trail will begin on March 18, 2012. This backpacking trip will take us on a continuous trail that stretches 2,180 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. We will hike heading northbound, starting in northern Georgia, traversing through 14 states to reach our final destination on the summit of Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain. The Appalachian Trail, maintained by thousands of volunteers in local trail clubs, is marked by white, rectangular blazes painted on trees, posts and rocks.
We’ve set our departure date based on when Baxter State Park (which houses Katahdin) closes, October 15, allowing us seven months to complete the trail in case of sickness, injury and no-hike days. We expect to hike anywhere from 10-25 miles per day depending on terrain, weather, etc. and have only attempted to estimate our mileage state-by-state so that we can plan for our mail drops that contain food and extra supplies.
In general, we will carry all our supplies for the six-month trip including enough food to fuel two of us for approximately one week. We will resupply our food by using a combination of food purchased in towns along the trail and mail drops sent by individuals back home. The mail drops we have prepared are filled with dehydrated meals that we’ve portioned, high-energy snacks donated by generous companies and potential replacement gear. Ideally, our packs will weigh between 25-35 pounds depending on how recently we’ve re-supplied our food.
Each night we will sleep in the backpacking tent that we carry with us, the established shelters on the trail or hotels/motels/bed & breakfasts in the towns we pass through. The many towns along the trail will provide us the opportunity for a comfortable bed, hot shower and real food.
We are not alone in our goal to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from start to finish in one season. There are close to two thousand others who attempt this each year, however less than twenty-five percent reach the finish. We are attempting this 2,180-mile journey to challenge our physical and mental strength as well as a means to discover a more sustainable, healthy and excess-free lifestyle. We will also be dedicating our journey as a hike to find a cure for cancer by raising money for American Cancer Society. Please help support us by donating to our cause and clicking on the American Cancer Society link on the left. See you in September!
Want to find out more about the Appalachian Trail?